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HolidayBuyer's Guide
MP3 Players

Crave Talk: Why has Apple turned the iPod into a Filofax?

Apple's design to charge consumers a cool £69 for its leather iPod case completes the company's mission to turn its state-of-the-art MP3 player,

The tech world, and Apple's many fanboys, greeted the announcement of a press conference from Steve Jobs this week with excitement. After the launch of the impossibly small iPod Nano, and then the news that the company would be movings its computers to Intel chips, we expect big news when Steve puts on his jeans and black polo neck. However, the 'news' couldn't have been more ho-hum: Intel core duo processors inside the Mac mini, and some pricey iPod accessories.

The expensive leather iPod cases seemed particularly absurd: £69 pounds to dress up your MP3 player? Apple's stores are full of daft accessories produced by third-parties, and the company obviously decided it wanted a piece of the really high-margin iPod bells-and-whistles action, not content with taking 80% of the U.S. market for MP3 players.

The iPod fad reminds me the early eighties craze for the Filofax -- another portable accessory that became absurdly popular. The Filofax diary and address book started off as a worthy tool for vicars and milkmen on the move. It was reincarnated as a day planner for busy Yuppies on the move, and ended up as fashion accessorry that symbolised the affluence, careerism, and decadence of the Thatcher years.

We get the iPod, a great way to manage music now transformed into a fashion accessory symbolising minimalist cool, technology worship, and a sort of digital autism. At least Apple's new iPod case "features a slim, form-fitting design that maintains its shape and a soft microfiber interior that ensures a snug, secure fit when your iPod is inside." We're all going to hell, but at least we'll be wearing little white earbuds. - Michael Parsons